Around the Watershed: News and Events

Family Fun and Fish Day 2018 a Great Success!

Posted on: May 22nd, 2018 by Brent Gotsch
Showing off the catch from Family Fun and Fish Day 2018 at Kenneth  Wilson State Campground.

Show­ing off the catch from Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day 2018 at Ken­neth Wil­son State Campground.

This year’s AWSMP Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day held at Ken­neth Wil­son State Camp­ground was a resound­ing suc­cess! Although the day started off cloudy and driz­zly, by the time activ­i­ties started the sun had come out and the tem­per­a­ture warmed to make for a com­fort­able day on the water. The event was attended by 61 youth and adults, and for many this was their first time fish­ing! Sev­eral types of fish were caught in the ponded river, includ­ing pump­kin­seed and cat­fish. Every­one enjoyed a bar­be­cue lunch and judg­ing by the lack of left­overs they worked up an appetite. AWSMP offered an arts and crafts activ­ity and “Build-a-Fish” game, though just about every­one enjoyed spend­ing time on the water seek­ing the elu­sive fish beneath the ripples.

Staff from NYSDEC help prepare a fishing pole for a Family Fun and Fish Day Participant

Staff from NYSDEC help pre­pare a fish­ing pole for a Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day Participant.


A big thank you goes out to vol­un­teers and staff who worked the event from Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County, the NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion that pro­vided fish­ing poles and bait, and Tony Cocozza from the Ashokan-Pepacton Chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited who helped men­tor many of the first-time anglers. We look for­ward to see­ing you all at next year’s Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day!

Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day is made pos­si­ble with fund­ing from the NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Protection.

The most important part of fishing is selecting a lucky pole! A special thanks to NYSDEC for lending out the poles for this year's event.

The most impor­tant part of fish­ing is select­ing a lucky pole! A spe­cial thanks to NYSDEC for lend­ing out the poles for this year’s event.

Family Fun and Fish Day Returns for 2018!

Posted on: May 3rd, 2018 by Brent Gotsch
Family Fun and Fish Day 2017

Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day 2017


Fish­ing with the fam­ily is a great way to con­nect with each other and expe­ri­ence the great out­doors! Back by pop­u­lar demand for a sixth year in a row, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) in coop­er­a­tion with the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) is host­ing “Fam­ily Fun & Fish Day” at Ken­neth Wil­son State Camp­ground located at 859 Wit­ten­berg Road, Mount Trem­per, NY on Sun­day, May 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

All fish­ing sup­plies will be pro­vided, though you are wel­come to bring your own if you have them. No fish­ing license is required.

Reg­is­ter by May 17, 2018 in order to par­tic­i­pate. Reg­is­ter online now by click­ing here.

For more infor­ma­tion on the event, con­tact Brent Gotsch at 845–688-3047 Ext. 3, or by email at DEC charges a $6 fee per car admis­sion to the camp­ground — all other activ­i­ties at Fam­ily Fun & Fish Day are free.

DEC fish­eries staff and vol­un­teers with local Trout Unlim­ited chap­ters will intro­duce youth and oth­ers to the sport of fish­ing and pro­vide edu­ca­tion on fish iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and aquatic ecol­ogy. Other fam­ily friendly activ­i­ties include a bar­be­cue, and arts and crafts under the pavil­ion. Please let us know in advance if you have any spe­cial needs related to the day’s activities.

Showing off the catch at Family Fun and Fish Day 2017

Show­ing off the catch at Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day 2017

Help Plant Trees on Earth Day

Posted on: April 10th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Trout Unlim­ited is look­ing for vol­un­teers to help plant trees for Earth Day.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) the Catskill Moun­tains Chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited is orga­niz­ing a tree plant­ing project on Bush Kill, along Wat­son Hol­low Road in West Shokan on Sat­ur­day, April 21, the day before Earth Day, from 9:30–2:00.

When: Sat­ur­day April 21st

Time: 9:30AM – 2PM

Where: Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram office, 3130 Route 28, Shokan, NY 12481. (If you arrive after 10, please head straight to the plant­ing site at 269 Wat­son Hol­low Road, West Shokan, NY. There is lim­ited park­ing at the site, though, so please try to arrive at the meet­ing site between 9:30 and 10:00.)

Con­tact #: 845–802-3861 (Andrew Higgins)

Please Reg­is­ter Online:

Meet at the AWSMP at 9:30 for sign in. We’ll car-pool to the site, where there’s lim­ited parking.

CMTU and vol­un­teers will be plant­ing native trees and shrubs along Bush Kill in part­ner­ship with the Arbor Day Foun­da­tion. The goal of this project is to plant along crit­i­cal cold­wa­ter streams in the Catskill Moun­tain Region. The plant­ing will help sta­bi­lize the stream­bank along the creek to reduce ero­sion and pro­vide shade to keep the water cold and clean!

We are look­ing for at least a dozen vol­un­teers to help. You are not required to be a TU member.

Jobs include: coor­di­nat­ing vol­un­teers, plant­ing trees, water­ing, reg­is­tra­tion table. Please con­sider tak­ing one day out of the year to help ful­fill the mis­sion of Trout Unlimited.

Please join us and bring a friend.

For more infor­ma­tion see the chap­ter web site OR con­tact:

Taking Flight 2018 Warbler Weekend

Posted on: April 4th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Did you know the Catskill Moun­tains host 27 dif­fer­ent breed­ing war­blers and at least 9 more species that have been doc­u­mented pass­ing through the region? The Catskill Cen­ter is host­ing Tak­ing Flight 2018 War­bler Week­end from May 25–27 at the Emer­son Resort & Spa in Mt. Trem­per. Check out the con­fer­ence high­lights and sched­ule for oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn how native Catskill plants in bird-friendly back yards sup­port our native birds. If your yard con­tains a stream in the Ashokan water­shed, con­tact Bobby Tay­lor, Catskill Streams Buffer Coor­di­na­tor at (845) 688‑3047, ext. 6 or to learn how native plant­i­ngs can pro­tect prop­erty and habitat.


Spring Migration Underway

Posted on: March 30th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Every spring, dozens of species of land­birds migrate from win­ter­ing grounds as far away as South Amer­ica to their sum­mer breed­ing grounds in the United States and Canada. The migra­tion period is one of the most per­ilous stages in the life cycle for birds, and the wide­spread loss of stopover habi­tat where they can rest and replen­ish their energy is believed to be a con­tribut­ing fac­tor in the decline in pop­u­la­tions for a num­ber of migra­tory bird species.

A new study has iden­ti­fied the Catskills region as one of the most impor­tant stopover loca­tions in the North­east! And stream cor­ri­dors are impor­tant habi­tat for birds that seek access to food, rest and water. One thing any landowner can do to help is use native plants in land­scap­ing. Native plants result in well fed birds! To learn more about which Catskill native plants improve wildlife habi­tat in stream cor­ri­dors, visit the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) web­site. Water­shed landown­ers can also con­tact CSBI Coor­di­na­tor Bobby Tay­lor for free assis­tance with restor­ing stream­side habi­tats at or (845) 688‑3047 ext. 6.

With sup­port from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice and other part­ners, researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Delaware used inno­v­a­tive analy­ses of weather data cou­pled with field sur­veys to pre­dict poten­tially impor­tant stopover sites for migra­tory land­birds in the North­east region. The final report and maps are avail­able in the North­east Stopover Sites for Migra­tory Land­birds gallery on Data Basin.


Leprechaun Bees in Search of Native Plant Gold!

Posted on: March 23rd, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

It’s spring now and because St. Patrick’s Day just passed, we are tak­ing a look at one of nature’s small­est lep­rechauns.… Augochlorop­sis metal­lica, a type of Sweat Bee. Native and metal­lic green, metal­lica is smaller than a Honey Bee!

Augochloropsis metallica (head)

Augochlorop­sis metal­lica (head)

Since these bees are so small, it takes a keen eye to spot them. Augo­chorop­sis metal­lica is found through­out the United States, from Ontario to Florida, and as far west as Ari­zona! They are usu­ally around from March until Novem­ber, with their flu­o­res­cent emer­ald green bod­ies shim­mer­ing in the daylight.

Augochloropsis metallica (back)

Augochlorop­sis metal­lica (back)

Augochloropsis metallica (side)

Augochlorop­sis metal­lica (side)

These beau­ti­fully tiny native bees have been sighted in two loca­tions around the Ashokan Water­shed, Stony Clove Creek in Greene County, and in Oliv­erea of Ulster County! What makes this bee so spe­cial is that it plays a cru­cial role in pol­li­nat­ing our native plants, pro­vid­ing a fight­ing chance for our native plant species to stand up against inva­sive plant species.

A zoomed-in focus of Augochloropsis metallica sightings!  Note:  Stony Clove Creek & Oliverea!

A zoomed-in focus of Augochlorop­sis metal­lica sight­ings! Note: Stony Clove Creek & Oliverea!

If you want to try and see the emer­ald metal­lica bee, make sure to plant native plants in and around your yard!

To pur­chase your plants locally, the Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict will be hold­ing their annual Bare Root Seedling Sale in April! Orders must be placed by Fri­day, March 30th using this order form, with pick-up dates being held on Wednes­day April 18th at Ulster County Fair­grounds in New Paltz and Fri­day April 20th at Ulster County Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works in Kingston. If you miss the dead­line, left-over sin­gle stem stock is usu­ally avail­able for walk-up pur­chase at the two loca­tions listed above.

Happy plant­ing, and thank you for sup­port­ing the bees!


Stream Explorers, Register Now!

Posted on: March 19th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Stream Explor­ers of the Ashokan Water­shed, Grades 3 through 7, are invited to take part in this year’s Stream Explor­ers Youth Adven­ture on Sat­ur­day, April 14th! The Youth Adven­ture will run from 8:30am to 4:30pm at the Ashokan Cen­ter in Olive­bridge, NY. Stream Explor­ers can expect to enjoy a fun-filled, action-packed day in the out­doors learn­ing about how streams work, inves­ti­gat­ing stream ecosys­tems, and learn­ing to use sci­ence tools to assess stream health! A hearty lunch, as well as morn­ing and after­noon snacks will be provided.

The Early­bird reg­is­tra­tion dead­line has ended, but reg­u­lar reg­is­tra­tion is still available.

Space is lim­ited, so don’t delay!

Reg­is­ter by April 6th here and check out our brochure for more information!

Preparing for Winter Storms

Posted on: March 5th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch
Trees interacting with power lines over the upper Esopus Creek, Oliverea, NY, following the Nor'easter of March 2, 2108. Photo by A. Bennett.

Tree inter­act­ing with power lines over the upper Eso­pus Creek, Oliv­erea, NY fol­low­ing the Nor’easter of March 2, 2018. Photo by A. Bennett.

The recent Nor’easter shows just how dev­as­tat­ing and dis­rup­tive high winds cou­pled with snow and ice can be. Even today, three days after the storm, thou­sands, includ­ing many in the water­shed are still with­out power. Presently, another Nor’easter is fore­cast to hit the region this Wednes­day. There are actions you can take today to be pre­pared and lessen the impact win­ter storms have on you and your family.

A great resource is the NY Exten­sion Dis­as­ter Edu­ca­tion Net­work (NY EDEN) page that deals with Win­ter Storms. As with many other types of dis­as­ters it is impor­tant to have a emer­gency bag or kit with sup­plies in your home. Items that could be included in the kit include:

  • One gal­lon of drink­ing water per per­son per day (for the assumed length of time you will be with­out water)
  • Non-perishable food items (such as canned food) and can opener
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flash­light
  • Bat­tery pow­ered AM/FM radio with batteries

Here are more ways to pre­pare and stay safe:

Be sure to have suf­fi­cient fuel since it may not be pos­si­ble for deliv­er­ies to be made for sev­eral days. Try to fill vehi­cle fuel tanks prior to the storm and keep sev­eral con­tain­ers of fuel ready for refu­el­ing. If you do lose power, do not run a gen­er­a­tor or propane grill inside your house as you may be poi­soned by car­bon monox­ide fumes. Dress in lay­ers to stay warm and use extra blan­kets in bed. If you use a fire­place or wood stove, be sure to have fire extin­guish­ers ready and that smoke detec­tors and car­bon monox­ide detec­tors have fresh batteries.

Espe­cially this time of year, snow tends to melt quickly and could con­tribute to flood­ing. Do not drive over flooded road­ways as the depth of water is often deceiv­ing and deeper than it appears. Turn Around! Don’t Drown!

Do not attempt to drive over or move downed power lines as it is often dif­fi­cult to deter­mine if they are live or not. Downed lines in stand­ing water can poten­tially be an elec­tro­cu­tion haz­ard so stay clear of them. Report the downed lines to your elec­tric com­pany. Unless you are expe­ri­enced with the use of a chain­saw, do not try to cut up downed trees on your own. This is espe­cially true if the trees are tan­gled up in downed power lines. Leave their removal to professionals.

Use the time we have now to pre­pare for the next storm so you will have the least amount of disruption.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week — Water Chestnut

Posted on: March 2nd, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Wel­come to the final day of National Inva­sive Species Week! Thank you all for stick­ing with us. We hope you’ve learned a great deal and will con­tinue efforts in pre­serv­ing our native species! Last, but not least, we look at the aquatic inva­sive Water Chestnut.

Water Chest­nut is native to Eura­sia and Africa, intro­duced to the U.S. in the mid-1800’s as an orna­men­tal plant. It is found in fresh­wa­ter lakes and slow-moving streams and rivers. First notice in Sco­tia, NY, Water Chest­nut occurs in 43 coun­ties across New York State.


Water Chest­nut is an annual plant with float­ing triangluarly-shaped leaves con­tain­ing saw-toothed edges. The sub­merged, hol­low air-filled stems grow 12 to 15 feet in length that anchor them­selves in the soil. Four-petaled, white flow­ers bloom in June, with fruits con­tain­ing 4-inch spines with barbs. Seeds within the fruits remain viable up to 12 years. The fruits are key in spread­ing Water Chest­nut, as they detach from the stem and float to another area. The barbs aid in attach­ing the fruit to recre­ational water­crafts and fish­ing equipment.

Leaf system of Water Chestnut. photo courtesy of Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Leaf sys­tem of Water Chest­nut.
photo cour­tesy of North­east Aquatic Nui­sance Species Panel

Water Chestnut. photo courtesy of Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Water Chest­nut.
photo cour­tesy of North­east Aquatic Nui­sance Species Panel

Fruit of the Water Chestnut. photo courtesy of NYS Parks Boat Stewards

Fruit of the Water Chest­nut.
photo cour­tesy of NYS Parks Boat Stewards

So what’s the prob­lem?

Water Chest­nuts con­tain dense root mats that make water recre­ation extremely dif­fi­cult to get through. These dense mats also shade out native plants, which pro­vide food and shel­ter to native  fish, birds, and insects. When the dense mats decom­pose, the chem­i­cal processes involved decrease the amount of dis­solved oxy­gen in the water, poten­tially suf­fo­cat­ing fish and plant species. The fruits of the Water Chest­nut are often found along the shore­line and bot­tom of water­ways, mak­ing the barbs of the fruits extremely painful if stepped on.

What can be done?

A vari­ety of meth­ods in con­trol­ling Water Chest­nut include man­ual, mechan­i­cal, and chem­i­cal meth­ods. Early detec­tion is the best way to con­trol and even erad­i­cate this inva­sive aquatic plant, keep­ing costs and eco­log­i­cal impacts low. Hand-pulling is often done to smaller infected areas, though, when a site is too large, har­vest­ing machines can also be used. Chem­i­cal treat­ments should be done by NYS DEC pro­fes­sion­als only.

As a local com­mu­nity mem­ber, make sure to Clean, Drain, and Dry your water­craft and equip­ment before and after each use. Be sure to dump your bait bucket water where it came from or on land.

If you think you have found Water Chest­nut, take a look at the Water Chest­nut Fact Sheet. If con­firmed, the NYS DEC asks you take many pho­tos and sub­mit a report to iMap­In­va­sives. Please share this infor­ma­tion with others!

For more infor­ma­tion regard­ing local infes­ta­tions of Water Chest­nut, check out the Eso­pus Creek Con­ser­vancy here. Thank you again for tak­ing time to explore inva­sive species with us dur­ing National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week! Check back soon for more updates from the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program!

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National Invasive Species Awareness Week — Didymo (Rock Snot)

Posted on: March 1st, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Day 4 of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week is ded­i­cated to Rock Snot!

What is it?

Didy­mos­pher­nia gem­i­nata a.k.a. Didymo a.k.a. Rock Snot, is an aquatic, inva­sive, micro­scopic diatoma­ceous algae that pro­duces high vol­umes of stalk mate­r­ial, which is why you may see thick mats on stream bot­toms. It is often brown, tan, or white, with the appear­ance and tex­ture of wet wool that does not fall apart easily.

Didymo in the Esopus Creek. photo courtesy of NYIS

Didymo in the Eso­pus Creek.
photo cour­tesy of NYIS

How does this impact streams?

Because Didymo grows on the bot­tom of streams and still waters, and forms thick mats of mate­r­ial, it can last for months, despite occur­ring through­out some fast mov­ing streams. When Didymo grows, or blooms, it cov­ers entire stream beds, cov­er­ing over native organ­isms, and restrict­ing the avail­abil­ity of food for native fish species. It spreads quickly and eas­ily due to water recre­ation activ­i­ties. Fish­ing, kayaking/canoeing, tub­ing, and boat­ing allows the micro­scopic algea to attach onto your boots, waders, and boats, and if not cleaned off prop­erly, it will spread to the next body of water you go to. Cur­rently, there are no con­trol meth­ods avail­able to stop the spread and erad­i­cate Didymo.

Make it stop!

NYS DEC urges the pub­lic to use the “Inspect, Clean and Dry” method to decrease the spread of inva­sive species. If for any rea­son you can’t get your equip­ment clean and dry, restrict your equip­ment to a sin­gle water body.

Density Observations of Rock Snot. map courtesy of NYIS

Den­sity Obser­va­tions of Rock Snot.
map cour­tesy of NYIS

**Atten­tion Felt-Sole Waders! We encour­age you to con­sider other alter­na­tives, such as rub­ber stud­ded boots. Because felt-soles absorb Didymo cells and remain absorbent for long peri­ods of time, the spread of Didymo can increase rapidly if spe­cial treat­ments are not conducted.

Check back tomor­row for our final day of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week!

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